The next time you pass an antique Packard automobile on the road, look closely, because the driver most likely is Dr. David Baird. Although Baird teaches in the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology, he loves to restore antique vehicles.
Rebuilding vehicles is a hobby for Baird, who also likes to build custom-made street rods. His current project is a 1949 Studebaker pickup with extensive body and mechanical modifications. If Baird is not using his industrial technology skills on the sleek and shiny metal of a Packard, then he is using it to create sculptures from wood and bronze.
“I made my living full time for three years as a sculptor before teaching, but now I just do it as another hobby,” Baird said.
Baird decided to make teaching his profession because he says it offered him intrinsic rewards.
“I feel like I am giving back something of value to our future generations,” Baird said. “It makes my life seem to count for something very important.”
Baird has taught at Southeast for eight years. While pursuing his master’s degree at Central Missouri State University and his doctorate at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Baird decided to enhance his industrial arts background from college with photography and technical graphics. He uses this knowledge to teach Southeast courses on photography, non-linear video editing, advanced graphic projects and teacher education courses for vocational teachers.
When Baird is not hard at work in the classroom or in his body shop, he enjoys traveling to Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. He says he not only enjoys the breathtaking scenery, but he also loves to see the geographical features and animals unique to the area. Baird also enjoys challenging his mind by reading mystery novels. He says they keep his mind thinking critically and creatively.
Baird says he enjoys his students at Southeast, and wants to provide the best guidance and education for them. His best advice for future students is to find a job you enjoy getting up for each day, one you would do even if you weren’t getting paid. He says this is the most rewarding type of job, not only for you, but for others as well.